Title: Giving, A Pathway To Fulfillment
Publisher: Massey Vickers Nigeria Limited, Lagos, 2013
Author: Amaka Okafor
Reviewer: Bayo Ogunmupe
The Book: Giving, A Pathway to fulfillment is the personal testimony of the author on Giving as a path to self-fulfillment. The act of Giving goes beyond the demands of philanthropy. It is more than the need simply to alleviate the pains and suffering of those in distress. Giving is a way to the higher life of divine existence. In this book, the author takes a look on giving in all its ramifications from the divine perspective.
She explores the attitudes of giving in the lives of Christians in this second decade of the 21st century. By using the timeless instructions of the Word of God, Amaka succeeds in impacting on her desired audience. With practical examples and soul striving encouragement, Mrs. Okafor challenges every believer to live a selfless and generous life. She avers that the Christian should look beyond his own needs by being a blessing to others.
The book: Giving, shows you more reasons to be selfless in your relationships, thereby opening yourself up to the abundant harvest Jehovah wants to pour into your life. Giving: contains twelve chapters, dedication, preface and foreword. It also includes pages on Retrospect, two pages of notes, a page on References and another page on Image links. With 172 pages the book makes interesting reading.
In a chapter-by-chapter analysis, the first quartet deals with concept, form, soil and the way of giving. With how to live successful lives, and the concern of every person, the pathway to obtaining and retaining wealth becomes the paramount pursuit of every citizen. When you become wealthy, you can then become a blessing to others as share your good fortune with others. There are varying concepts of giving. Some engage in giving for the purpose of showing off their wealth. Others give in order to buy friendships or to obtain support and loyalty of those they desire to associate with.
As understood by majority of Christians, offering represents the routine giving of money or articles during a religious service or worship. This includes collections, and love offerings at church, prayer meetings or fellowships. In the Bible (Leviticus), offering and sacrifice are used as synonyms. This notion started when each person was required to offer a gift to God by sacrificing it at the altar, as God had instructed Moses.
Offering is, therefore the best way of giving to God. In the Old Testament Bible, offerings or sacrifices were the only way you could restore a broken relationship with God. Sacrifices were offered to God in order to praise God, worship Him, for thanksgiving, for forgiveness or fellowship. The first seven chapters of the Bible Book of Leviticus explain the varieties of offerings and how they were to be administered. By Jehovah’s instructions on offerings, God was tutoring humanity on how man can truly worship Him.
One: thanksgiving is the offering brought to God in appreciation for answered prayer or for special favours received. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God concerning you, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.” Two, alms giving: this is a type of giving, which is directed to the poor, the needy, widows and orphans. God’s approval of this offering is explained in Mathew 25: 31-40. Alms giving isn’t an option. It is an obligation for anyone who believes in God. Henry Ward Beecher said, “Every charitable act is a stepping stone towards heaven.” “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard by God, Proverbs 21:13.”
Three, giving for missions or giving in order to propagate the gospel. The Moslems call it “jihad of the purse. You may also give through service. It was the Shun Amite woman’s service to Elisha that changed her story of barrenness, 2 Kings 4: 8-10. Four, saving or seed planting is a form of giving which aids success. In his book, The Law of Success, Napoleon Hill said, “Trying to get without first giving is as fruitless as trying to reap without having sown.” Sowing and reaping is a natural cycle of life. One is ever dependent on the other, both are inseparable. Reaping can only be after sowing had taken place. Giving is a type of sowing, a kind of planting, a time of challenging God with a specific prayer. Sowing refers to a process of planting a seed with the aim of growing a crop that will yield desired fruits. Many people still live in poverty and lack because they constantly refuse to sow the seeds they possess in order to create the harvest they need. Those who plant often harvest bountifully. Whenever you plant a seed, you provoke a perpetual harvest in your life: family, lineage, business and other relationships.
And for any seed to multiply, or increase, it must first be given away to die, gets out of your pocket, you let it die by spending, don't mourn it. The seed must die by leaving you, thereafter it produces fruits and then harvesting. A seed is anything you have that blesses another person. Money is a seed, also love you can plant a seed of love in the life of your neighbour, which will bear fruit in the years to come. Knowledge is a seed, and prayer too. There is no limit to the volume at which your seed can multiply. But there cannot be any multiplication without planting. Therefore, plant good seeds that will bear fruits tomorrow.
Unfortunately, many believers can only plant vices. Which is why many perpetuate evil. For instance many people hoard money, knowledge or information. Like in the provision of electricity for Nigerians, they prefer to constitute themselves as hindrances. To plant a seed is to let go of something you possess to create a promise. If you are addicted to seed sowing, Jehovah will always provide you with seeds to sow. Giving is the obverse of receiving. If you wish to receive anything, you must first give it. Thus, the fastest way to be rich is to give whatever you have. As you sow, so shall you reap. Tithing is my final offering for review. A tithe is a tenth of one’s income, profit or salary. To tithe is an obligation by which a believer recognizes God’s ownership of whatever we own. We are mere custodians of God’s wealth. Tithing is therefore an acknowledgement of Jehovah’s ownership of all our possessions. God commands that we give Him a tenth of the wealth He has bestowed to us as His stewards.
While the second quartet of chapters of who is qualified to give, what to give, the principles of tithing and the rewards of tithing has been treated adequately, we shall deal for reasons of space with the last quartet for being the mainstay of the book. This third quartet comprises reluctance in giving, the principles of giving, the grace of giving and how to give oneself.
Vital issues in giving are the rewards of tithing and giving oneself. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely help another without helping himself.”
In Malachi 3: 10-12 a package of eight promises and blessings are spelt out. Some of these are “open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” Thus, God emphasized His promises as being inviolable and sealed in the authority of His name.
The author, Mrs. Amaka Okafor is a pharmacist, public health consultant and Philanthropist. She is an active member of the Catholic Charismatic Revival Ministries. She is married to Engineer Obi Okafor and they are blessed with four children.